By Michael Reubens
It is a rare find to have a talent that can channel a superstar from the past and, like magic, transform the off-Broadway cabaret room, The Triad into the Tatania Palast Theater, Berlin, cerca 1960.
Cindy Marinangel does just that in the guise of Marlene Dietrich as she sweeps us back in time from her perspective backstage in her dressing room in Berlin.
In conversation with an American journalist, a suspicious man appearing at her door and numerous telephone calls, she reminices about her life in Germany, fleeing tbe Nazis and her film career including “The Blue Angel” in Hollywood, as she sings two of the most famous from her repertoire – Lili Marlene and Falling in Love again – both delicious but far too short. The illusion remains however throughout the piece.
Produced and acted/sung by Ms Marinangel, who brought her one woman show to New York from her home base in Los Angeles for one night only recently with the possibility of future performances to come. Dietrich written by Willard Manus had assistance at the piano by Russell Daisey and was Directed by Judith Rose.
We didn’t see the reporter who interviewed her on stage or the man at her dressing room door. That was also in the imagination and further illusion of the play, which was somewhat distracting, however Ms Marinangel saved the night as Marlene Dietrich. Maybe the next rendition will have her completely take over the spirit of that legendary performer in cabaret and thereby enable the illusion to progress far deeper. It has been successfully done in the past with Edith Piaf and Judy Garland re-created to name but just two, so the sky’s the limit!
The Triad Theatre is located at 158 W. 72nd Street, New York.